N. 29 Feux avant, la choregraphie
N. 29 Feux avant, la choregraphie
Feux avant, la chorégraphie is the light counterpoint to the sound work La naissance de la lumière à partir de l’esprit du feu. The idea for this piece lies within a research work on Otto Piene’s light ballet and can be understood as a supplement to the composition of a choreography, i.e. the dance itself: the third work of the triptych entitled En l’absence de choses. Feux avant, la chorégraphie carries the idea of the mechanical light ballet into new dimensions, into that of notation and into that of theatre. It could not have been created without a comprehensive research work on the basic principles and technical conditions of light art, which has created a huge range of new possibilities. Here the light does not complete a theatrical work, it is the artwork itself. It is independent, but may also be combined with the sound and dance works. It can be performed or installed. Numerous light sources are used, spotlights and lasers, but also fog machines, fans, projectors, cameras, a huge LED matrix and a light curtain. The entire space is integrated into the piece, while the audience is immersed into a sea of light. Two large scores are needed to drive the darkness out of the music theatre – one for the stage and the other for the hall actions. The piece can be experienced in many different ways, depending on one’s position and whether it is interwoven with the other works, through constant displacement with the light ballet when installed, through different interpretations of the scores as well as by analysing the notations.
What is necessary to perform this work?
This is the black and white version of the score. The coloured pages may be downloaded on this site. Additionally, a link to the coloured version is provided on the final page of the score.
The work should preferably be completely automated. This also enables its installation. However, it can also be performed by lighting directors / instrumentalists (up to two per light instrument). For instance, the orchestra of a theatre / ballet / opera house can assume this role. Feux avant, la chorégraphie is related to the works La naissance du temps à partir de l’esprit de l’espace: For percussion, aerophones and electronics on fixed media and En l‘absence de choses: Choreography for ballet dancers. The works are conceived in such a way that they can be performed together as a total artwork. However, they may also be performed independently or, respectively, two of the three pieces be combined with each other, while any combination is possible. If the light and sound works are performed together, realise the speaker arrangement depicted on the next page. The light ballet is slightly longer than the electroacoustic piece (28’00’’ vs. 27’24’’ minutes). When both works are installed, they are constantly displaced to one another. In the case of a performance, one should advise the audience to bring sunglasses, they will be sitting in a sea of light. If the works are installed afterwards, the audience should be aware that they shift against each other and that one may walk through the hall. From this moment on, the doors can be opened and possible visitors to the installation are additionally able to enter. If required, the piece can also be installed in other spaces (different from theatres and opera houses), including outdoor spaces at night.
The set up is small for a theatre. However, it is large in the sense that it can be compared to the size of an orchestral instrumentation, while this is the first notated piece of this kind. Due to its complexity, two scores are used – one for the lights inside the hall (including side-lighting booms) and the other for the stage lights. The distribution of the instruments does not correspond to the usual one. This is because the light is not used to support a piece, but is the piece itself. The light instruments are determined and positioned on the following page. They should be visible as openly as possible and not (as is usually the case) hidden. The wattage of the lamps is determined by the interpretation with regard to the size of the room. They also select the lamp type (discharge / solid-state). If the specified spotlight types cannot be found or are obsolete, they can be replaced by a similar model (with the same articulations). The lasers are notated in a software-independent way. Their light always shines above the heads of the audience and (possible) dancers. Projection surfaces are curtain, the upper half of the LED matrix / light curtain (follow spot position) and ceiling (footlight). If this configuration is not possible due to the nature of the room, the lasers can also be placed in a different position. For further information see Christian Dimpker: Kinetic notations for the visual and performing arts. 2022, pp. 41-67.
The LED dot matrix consists of 36 × 20 separate big light fields, which in turn consist of three diodes (red, green, blue) each. The size of the wall should be adapted to the size of the room and impressively close off the stage. Two video cameras each record one half of the LED matrix and send the image to two projectors. There is a time delay of 100-350 ms between recording and playback. The image from the projectors should be strongly distorted at the discretion of the interpretation and – as illustrated – projected (mirrored on two axes) to the ceiling. Cameras and projectors run continuously. The light curtain is explained on p. VI. It is suspended from the 4th electric pipe and can therefore be raised and lowered. At the beginning of the piece, it is located at the very bottom. The fog machines are smoke machines with cooling units. Fog lies on the floor. The steam from the smoke machines rises and the steam from the hazers is distributed evenly throughout the room. Gobo templates and laser scenes are depicted on pp. VI ff. They are implemented at the discretion of the interpretaters. The templates can be reproduced exactly or be used to create similar pictures. Aside the images, one can find the quantity to be produced and the light instruments supplied with them. The scenes should be realised as detailed as possible, but the images leave, of course, room for interpretation.
Two different curtains are used, the normal stage curtain and a large semi-transparent curtain made of tulle. The tulle curtain replaces the stage curtain at some points and then serves as a semi-transparent projection surface. It is not visible in the beginning of the piece and the stage curtain is open. If this tulle curtain cannot be integrated into the stage curtain, it is also possible to lower it from the proscenium bridge. Movements of the curtains are notated. They should also be carried out in the case of an installation. As a prelude to a performance, a light-related loudspeaker piece with a duration of approximately 30 minutes, e.g. Xenakis’ Le polytope de Cluny, can be played in the darkened room. It is also possible to combine the performance with other light works of mine.